“As part of a major and vital rehabilitation of the Kings County Criminal Court, we are adding a new newsstand and investing to make it accessible,” said a spokesman for the city Department of Design and Construction. The Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator ordered the DDC to build the stand as part of a $38 million courthouse renovation. City courthouse newsstands are operated by blind workers through a program run by the state Commission for the Blind.Blind people have traditionally run newsstands, but the safeguard against theft — a problem at any newsstand — is the heightened sense of morality people feel about cheating the blind.
Said one court source, “Let’s face it. It’s in the lobby of a courtroom, so you might get a few criminals walking by who wouldn’t think twice about stealing from a blind guy.”You might think NYC should just use the new place and not employ a blind worker, but consider that there is a pre-existing but run-down newsstand in the lobby, run by a 61-year-old blind man who's worked there for 10 years, the design of the new shelves really does facilitate shoplifting, and there are other aspects of the design that aren't suitable for a blind person. The area behind the counter is said to be too small to use a cane or seeing-eye dog.
It sounds almost as though the designer had a secret agenda of ousting the blind. That's a premise I'd explore if I were suing. Things less cheap than lawsuits: 1. building another new newsstand, and 2. eating the cost of shoplifting.
Quite aside from potential litigation, there's the political problem. Here you've got: 1. wasting the taxpayers' money, 2. looking stupid, 3. showing lack of concern for the blind, 4. the embarrassment of a ridiculous crime paradise in the lobby of a criminal courthouse, breeding more and more disrespect for the law among those with the least reason to feel respect.